No place like home for the holidays – ’tis the season

As to how many Americans have traveled, are or will be traveling throughout the holiday and dare I call it the end-of-year crush, I haven’t a clue. I’ve heard reports – I mean, who hasn’t? One-hundred-million; 105 million; 110 million; a-hundred-fifteen million, really it’s anyone’s guess. So, picture if you can 110 million traveling Americans. Think about it: That’s a third of the entire U.S. population trying and getting to where we need to go this holiday season. Then there is me and the 220 million of us who aren’t. I’m staying home, thank you very much!

Baltimore, Maryland traffic jam

Don’t get me wrong: been there, done that (the traveling part), plenty of times. But, I have reached a point in my life where I prefer to take things at a much slower pace. Maybe that’s just consistent with getting older or could it be that I would rather forego all of the hassle and headache? Trust me when I say this, there is a lot to be said for avoiding, deflecting all of the holiday travel stress.

Okay, that’s part of it. Another part, of course, is that with folks traveling elsewhere, the neighborhood seems quieter. This gets back to that taking-life-at-a-slower-pace premise.

It’s also good not having to deal with the crowds, short tempers, impatience, all of the negativity that sometimes rises to the surface this time of the year. I don’t miss that for a minute. Let me tell you!

Compounding and maybe contributing is the weather. And, weather can go from good to bad or from bad to worse in an instant. And, how does one prepare for that? I’m not sure one can.

So, another reason for staying home-sweet-home if I am to be honest is because I came down with something. There were sniffles and there was sneezing, at times my right nostril in particular running like a leaky spigot. Then came a slight fever followed by the chills. Piling on the clothing in layers plus with the comfort of a warm bed, the bug eventually ran its course. Can you imagine what it’d be like being away and having and dealing with the same?

Not fun as I speak from experience. I remember the time when I was 12 that my parents and I flew to Miami, Florida. I had had a nasty head cold. And, when all was said and done, my condition upon our leaving and returning home was actually much worse than when we were first Sunshine-State bound. My parents must have figured the balmier weather would do me some good. It probably would have had I remained in the hotel room for my entire stay. But honestly, could you see a child all of a dozen years’ young doing that? Me neither.

Enough talk of the past.

As for there being no place like home for the holidays, there is definitely something to be said for that. Besides the money I saved by not going away, I’m saving the air too, even if in my own little, subtle way.

Now, 110 million American travelers, that’s considerable. You’ve all seen the images in related news reports: the scenes at busy airports showing the throngs waiting in long queues; the inclement weather-affected highways where drivers do all they can just to try to maintain vehicle control; and on those freeways not so impacted by such negative weather, there’s that all-too-typical other abomination shown on the T.V. screen – traffic congestion. And, if congestion is present, chances are there is negatively impacted air to go with that. No thanks, I’ll pass.

Sitting at my dining room table with pen in hand putting to paper these thoughts I’m thinking, and all the while out my window I’m seeing some of the bluest skies, the kind I haven’t seen in some time, and punctuated by a puffy white cloud or two, yep, this is the life and one right here, right now, at this time, I wouldn’t trade for the world!

Wait, what am I doing still sitting here writing?! I should be outside instead. Now, if you’ll excuse me.

… I’m back!

Oh, and as for the 110 million or so spending time away from home, happy travels!

Image: U.S. Census Bureau (top)

– Alan Kandel